LSHTM’s team of London to Brighton cyclists raise over £10,000 for scholarships25 September 2023 London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine https://lshtm.ac.uk/themes/custom/lshtm/images/lshtm-logo-black.png
With the sky as their limit, our brilliant cycling team from LSHTM, including LSHTM’s Director Professor Liam Smeeth, has achieved a remarkable feat, raising an incredible £10,195 for the LSHTM Scholarship Fund and the Val Curtis Memorial Fund.
The September morning of the London to Brighton cycle ride in 2023 was warmer than it should have been, as thousands of cyclists gathered on Clapham Common, ready to take on the 55-mile ride to Brighton. Despite the warmth in the air, our team of 20 cyclists readied themselves to take on the challenge, up and over all the hills due south of Clapham in London, including the intimidating Ditchling Beacon in the South Downs, before the electrifying descent to Brighton seafront.
With two teams of LSHTM cyclists setting off at 08:00 and 10:00, there was time for the teams to convene before the ride and gather for a group photograph and some peer support and motivation. This year’s team, a mix of LSHTM staff, current students, former students and friends, came together, forging new connections as they pumped up their tyres and proudly donned their LSHTM cycle jerseys, ready to tackle the route ahead.
Former student Arielle Valette (MSc Public Health, 2019) took on the ride, travelling all the way from Spain (amongst significant UK flight disruption). She was accompanied by her 14-year-old son Alex, who took on this adventure as a summer project. Alex and Arielle fundraised together from their base in Spain, exceeding their ambitious €1,000 target by raising £1,083 before the ride began. On the day of the ride, the other riders looked out for Alex, encouraging him to challenge himself while keeping safe on the roads amongst thousands of other cyclists.
Arielle’s stepdaughter waited for her step mum and brother at the finish line in Brighton, with members of the Development and Alumni Relations team, and told us that she plans to join her step mum in our Cambridge Half Marathon event in March.
Keir Hughes, Scientific Officer and recent LSHTM graduate (MSc Medical Entomology for Disease Control, 2022), was feeling both lucky and strong whilst embarking on the ride. He pledged to match his donors’ contributions (up to £500) if he didn’t complete the ride in 4 hours or less. Keir was confident he could complete all 55 miles in less than 4 hours, (even with his Deliveroo box on his shoulders as an extra challenge). As one of the first riders in our group to cross the line, he was excited to find out his finish time. On hearing the news that he missed his four-hour goal by a mere 10 minutes and 24 seconds, Keir, true to his words, promptly added to his fundraising total, taking the team to an incredible £10,195 raised for our LSHTM Scholarship Fund. Thank you, Keir, for your hard work, integrity, and infectious sense of humour helping take the whole team across the fundraising line, raising more from this event for scholarships than LSHTM has ever done before!
Eduardo Gomes is married to LSHTM alumna Fiona Gomes (MSc Control of Infectious Diseases, 2006) and was keen to get involved, with Fiona’s support of the fundraising element of the challenge, as an experienced, strong cyclist. Eduardo was set to complete the ride in a mind-blowing three hours but had a catastrophic puncture towards the start of the route. Despite his extraordinary ambitions for the day (which involved cycling a rather long way home following the 55-mile cycle to Brighton), he took time to support the other riders, documenting the journey with photos and videos, even finding time for a bit of a dance on his bike for the professional photographers. Unsurprisingly, Eduardo was the first member of our team to cross the finish line this year. Despite his humble and gentle manner, we were all very impressed with Eduardo’s team spirit, deep love of cycling, and impressive cycling accomplishments on the day.
Phil Hefford (MSc Medical microbiology, 2013), former LSHTM student and a full-time clinician for the NHS, somehow found time in his busy life to take on the role of team motivator, helping create a montage of LSHTM branded selfies for the team to use in their fundraising posts. He also supported our youngest rider during the challenging downhill sections of the ride. To maximise his fundraising, Phil went the extra mile! He decided to cycle not just to Brighton, but to a hospital in Chichester (another 35 miles) the following day to deliver teaching sessions on Infectious Diseases as part of his fundraising pledge. Thank you, Phil, for being such a great motivator and support to the team this year.
Does this sound like fun to you? Would you like to be part of a motivated team and help widen access to education at LSHTM? If you would like to take part in an event link this, you can register your interest to join our upcoming events now. Don’t miss your chance to get involved.
You can register your interest to represent LSHTM in the:
- Cambridge Half Marathon in March 2024
- London Landmarks Half Marathon in April 2024
- London to Brighton cycle ride in September 2024
If you have an idea for an event and would like to talk to us about it, please get in touch.